Tag Archives: philadelphia

Have an Idea for a Compost System?

compost contest

Have you ever wanted to design your own composter?

The Philadelphia Food Policy Advisory Council is seeking designs for neighborhood-scale, in-vessel composting systems that can be used by schools and community organizations.

Successful designs will be:

• Fully-enclosed and rodent-proof
• Able to function year-round outdoors in Philadelphia’s climate
• One to three cubic yards in capacity
• Easily constructed and maintained

The winner receives a $500 prize and recognition for their design by the City of Philadelphia’s Office of Sustainability and the Philadelphia Food Policy Advisory Council!

Compost is the nutrient-rich, earthy-smelling material created by the managed decomposition of organic matter. Community composting transforms organic matter into valuable soil amendments, keeps organic waste in a local closed-loop system, and engages communities through participation and education.

Submit designs by March 15, 2017.   Finalists’ designs will be selected by March 29.  If you are a finalist, we will provide funding for you to build your design.

Finished compost systems will need to be transported to a testing site in Philadelphia by April 26.  Finalist compost systems will then be tested over the summer, and a winner will be announced in Fall 2017.

Visit www.phillyfpac.org/compost for more information, including a full list of specs and requirements.

Philadelphia is Close to Mandating Composting for Restaurants


Although it’s been known for a few weeks, I wanted to bring up what’s going on here in Philadelphia.

Up to now, the City had no real incentives set up for businesses to compost, nor do they provide curbside compost collection.

In Philadelphia, all commercial establishments must pay a fee every year for their trash dumpster and recycling dumpster.  The recycling is cheaper than the trash dumpster.

The idea is to have a composting option available, which will hopefully cut back on the amount of organics being thrown in the trash.

This bill focuses on just restaurants…ideally it will expand to include coffee shops, pizza shops, and really anywhere serving food.

Done right, numerous businesses should practically be able to either recycle or compost almost all of their waste.

Let’s hope the mayor signs the bill.

The 3 or 4 compost services in Philadelphia must be getting pretty excited about this.


Introducing…the Dirt Factory!

Something really inspiring occurred in west Philadelphia recently – the opening of the Dirt Factory, a community composting facility located at 4308 Market St.

The Dirt Factory community composting facility

I truly believe that this concept/design will become a template for others to implement throughout the city, and hopefully throughout the country.  What does it do?

The site is run by University City District and it provides a place to dispose of fallen leaves in the area, to then turn into compost for its gardens.  Even better, it’s open once a week for anyone in the neighborhood to drop off up to 5 gallons of material.

Two Earth Tubs (pictured above) were installed on the site and can process an enormous amount of material, creating high quality finished compost in short time.

on site garden using finished compost

As you probably know, I’m a strong advocate for curbside compost collection…the majority of our waste is recyclable or compostable.  Philadelphia has repeatedly said it won’t go that route, which is really saddening and frustrating.

The Dirt Factory definitely needs promotion so it can be replicated as much as possible to chip away at the waste problems we face… so if you live in the area or know someone that does, tell them about this awesome upgrade to west Philadelphia!

Is Composting Endorsed Where You Live?

Today I stumbled upon the Wormcycler Municipal Program, which ties your municipality into a worm composting program by subsidizing part of the costs to get started while promoting the benefits of vermicomposting.

I wonder how effective their program has been, and if anyone in my home city of Philadelphia has actually done this.  If you haven’t noticed, I happen to like composting and want everyone to do it.

While I keep asking and pushing for curbside compost pickup in Philadelphia (which I’m told won’t happen), people can do it themselves at home, which is probably the better option anyway.  Or start a community collection point for compost…Philadelphia just opened one in my neighborhood (video/article to come shortly!).

It frustrates me to no end that composting isn’t expanding more rapidly, especially here in Philadelphia.  Our Mayor is always talking about how Philly has the goal to be the greenest city, yet we don’t have composting available to residents or really outright endorse it.  Recycling can only make up so much of our waste stream, while composting handles all our organic waste as well as all the crappy paper waste that won’t get recycled in the paper stream (think paper towels, napkins and even coffee cups).

Composting is THE no brainer process that can get anyone that much closer to the goal of zero waste.  So if your town says they don’t have the money/interest to start up a program (quite likely), then they should be promoting composting and making it front and center for residents to get started easily.  End rant (for now).